Posts Tagged ‘BMW’

Opening Day at EICMA’s Motorcycle Show

November 3, 2010

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi with the director of EICMA Costantino Ruggiero during opening day ceremonies. It's a memorable show for Ruggiero, who is retiring this year after 25 years as executive director of ANCMA, the Italian motorcycle and bicycle trade association, and head of the group's EICMA show.

Huge show venue covers area of nearly 47 football fields

MILAN — It’s been seven years since I walked this world’s largest motorcycle show,but it seems as though I was never gone.

While much has changed at EICMA, much is the same— the almost overwhelming size, the jammed press conference schedule on the first two days (Tuesday and Wednesday have 21 press conferences) devoted to trade and press representatives. The doors open to the general public on Thursday. By the time this 68th edition of EICMA wraps up on Sunday, Nov. 7, close to 500,000 people will have walked these aisles.

The highlight of the first day, for Italians certainly if not for foreign visitors, was the opening ceremony featuring Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Security seemed especially tight for Berlusconi’s visit this year and made it almost impossible to move through the presentation area in the main administration building that houses EICMA offices and the media room where we do a lot of our work. The media center is set up with computer facilities, and it hosts the drop off area where exhibitors distribute information to the media.

Unlike in past sessions when Italy’s top politicians opened the show with comments related to motorcycles, often discussing transportation issues and plans for boosting Italy’s important motorcycle and bicycle industries, Berlusconi used Tuesday’s event as an opportunity to poke barbs at his political opponents and to talk about general political issues. Recycling,  garbage issues in Naples and proposed wire tap legislation didn’t hold much interest for international guests looking for news about motorcycles.

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Cycle World IMS New York: Meat the Press

January 22, 2010

While pretty much all the press attention during the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show stops is directed toward the motorcycles, it’s kinda cool to turn that focus around to the journalists themselves.

If you’ve never been a part of this roving crowd of camera snappers and flashers (CAMERA flashers) it’s often been described as a scrum al a rugby, and for good reason. As the media schedule skips from OEM announcement to OEM annoucement, the press follows in a tight bunch, each jockying for position and camera angles. It’s even crazier at the European shows (like EICMA) where it seems that a fist fight is only a shove or elbow away. This roving band of moto-journos tends to break up as the hours progressive until it’s the niche guys getting the niche news. Good times for sure.

At the opening of the New York IMS stop, show representative and extremely debonair motoguy, Robert Pandya, was directing the first few hours of the press event. At 9:30 a.m. Friday morning, the show floor was still chockablock with unopened wooden crates, union workers, cleaners, assemblers and other assorted workers. Forklifts whirred and honked their way through the crowds, impatiently navigating the crowds to deliver payloads of whatnot.

There were reps from blogs, magazines, radio shows and newspapers, a span of media representation ranging from Roadbike to All About Bikes magazine, from Popular Science to American Iron. Oh year, don’t forget the Motorcycle Radio Network and Rider. In other words, the show gets some pretty damn good press from a wide range of media. We like this.

“Move in here folks,” Pandya says while trying to start the show at the Cycle World booth. “We don’t want to play journalist shish-kabob.”

From here the group moves en masse to BMW to hear head media-man Roy Olliemuller tout the OEM’s 2009 sales numbers before introducing the BMW crew and the S1000RR. There were those forklifts again in the background (and almost in the foreground!)

Boom, off to Victory Motorcycles. Then the Suzuki Busa Beats 2010 launch. Next, Star and the Performance Machine Raider. Honda? You’re up. Harley-Davidson’s got a new bike. Let’s go see it. A Ducati fashion show AND the 2010 Multistrada 1200? Bellisimo! Hardcore Choppers. TapouT. Ducati freestyle stunt team. Phew. It’s a busy schedule.

Texas Bill Requires Training For “High-Performance” Bike Buyers

April 21, 2009

Legislation being considered in Texas would force those who purchase a “high-performance” motorcycle to take a training course within six months of the purchase.
texas
HB 4531, if voted into law, would force all owners and operators of a high performance motorcycle purchased on or after September 1, 2009 to show proof of course attendance upon the request of law enforcement. Violators would be fined between $500 and $1,000.

According to bill sponsor Rep. Norma Chavez (D-El Paso), a “high-performance motorcycle” is any motorcycle “referred to, called, labeled, or described as a ‘sports bike’, ‘sports motorcycle’, ‘high performance motorcycle’, or other similar term, in any materials given to an original purchaser at the time of purchase from any retail seller or contained in the owners manual or guides from the manufacturer.”

The bill is currently being debated in the House Public Safety committee.

Machineart Produces BMW-based Concept

April 13, 2009

Industrial design and product development firm Machineart Industrial Design has completed the R1200GSM, a design study of the iconic BMWR1200GS, using a process called “direct digital manufacturing” that drastically cut production time.

Machineart, Frenchtown, N.J., provides new product design and development services, focusing on concept development, visual brand identity, parts engineering and prototyping in powersports, computers & equipment, consumer products, medical products, juvenile products, housewares and sports equipment.

Machineart leadership says the primary goal was to develop a look that departs from BMW’s common lines while retaining a sense of muscularity. A secondary goal was to reduce the GS’s visual weight and give it a look of agility and forward movement. The final challenge was to build the prototype in a reasonable period of time utilizing digital manufacturing technology.
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Pieter de Waal, vice president, BMW Motorrad USA, recently told Dealernews that most GS riders do not ride off-road but still gravitate to the model because of its versatility, comfortable (more…)

Dealernews Visits BMW, Husqvarna

April 10, 2009

What are BMW and Husqvarna’s plans for their U.S. dealer network and product, production, pricing, financing and promotions?

I found out on Wednesday during a trip to New Jersey for a talk with Pieter de Waal, vice president, BMW Motorrad USA, and Mark Brady, president, Husqvarna Motorcycles NA, LLC.

Husqvarna Motorcycles was purchased by the BMW Group in October 2007. Husqvarna Motorcycles NA, LLC is a subsidiary of BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North, Central and South America, which is located in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

Pieter de Waal, VP, BMW Motorrad USA

Pieter de Waal, VP, BMW Motorrad USA

de Waal joined BMW Motorrad USA on April 1, 2008, replacing Arturo Pineiro, who took the position of president of BMW, Central and South America. de Waal has been with BMW Group since 1994. He previously headed worldwide Sales and Marketing for BMW Motorrad in Munich. Prior to that he worked for BMW Group in Great Britain and South Africa as general manager of BMW Motorrad and technical director of BMW Motorsport.

Mark Brady, former CEO of Triumph Motorcycles America, in July 2008 became president of Husqvarna Motorcycles North America, LLC. He has spent the past nine months reestablishing the Husqvarna brand in the North American off-road market.

Stay tuned to Dealernews.com for my forthcoming report.

BMW Rider Pfeiffer Stunts KYMCO Super 9

March 23, 2009

Multi-time World Stunt Champion Chris Pfeiffer recently performed atop a KYMCO scooter during an exhibition in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Pfeiffer is under contract with the BMW Group, so his performance on a KYMCO, at the request of a German KYMCO dealer, had to be approved by the German OEM.

Pfeiffer chose the KYMCO Super 9 LC for the 10-minute show, which included wheelies, stoppies and a host of other high level stunts.

Taiwan’s KYMCO (Kwang Yang Motor Co. Ltd.) produces the engine for BMW’s G 450 X enduro – which Pfeiffer traditionally stunts along with an F 800 R.
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Beemer Shop Owner Tells It Like It Is

March 12, 2009

The other night on The Story, a radio program that runs on one of our local NPR stations the host interviewed Ted Porter, the owner of Ted Porter’s BeemerShop. It’s an independent BMW shop up near Santa Cruz, Calif.

The show itself is simply long-form interviews with (mostly) ordinary people whose livesbeemer intersect with current issues. With Porter, the obvious hook was the economy and its effect on the motorcycle industry. During the interview with host Dick Gordon, Porter talked about his business and laid out one of the most compelling descriptions of running a motorcycle business that I’ve ever heard.

Porter’s tale was like a primer on doing EVERYTHING right, an approach that he said centered around that Business 101 basic — customer service. He explained in great detail why he ties the success of livelihood to this simple business concept (which doesn’t seem so simple for some shops). He also gave a ground level view of just how scary it is to be a small-business owner right now. Here’s a snippet from The Story’s website:

Ted Porter runs a motorcycle repair shop in California. He used to be a tinkerer. He fixed bikes on the weekends and worked a day job. But when his “hobby” grew a waiting list, he took the plunge and opened his own shop. These days, though motorcycle dealerships in his area have gone under, Ted’s business is thriving. He tells Dick Gordon about the one business decision he made that was crucial to his success in this wavering economy: staying true to the ideals of customer service he learned from his dad.

I highly recommend giving this interview a listen. It’s available as a podcast by going here or by looking it up on iTunes (search American Public Media: The Story).

Taiwan Firms Aim for U.S.

February 15, 2009

I was asked to speak at the Taiwan Powersports Symposium during the Dealer Expo in Indianapolis.

The event included journalists and manufacturers focused on giving an insight about Taiwan’s powersports industry and how it may impact business here in the U.S. The comments below are my own, offered during the presentation.

“While it’s unlikely any of us were in the motorcycle industry during the early 1960s, I think it’s pretty well known how the first of the Japan-made two-wheelers to enter the U.S. back then were greeted by consumers and retailers who had, up to that point, only known U.S. and European brands.

Although the things said about those early Japanese bikes weren’t too flattering, the Big Four from Japan nevertheless grew to become the major players in the U.S. motorcycle market.

Well, nowadays, I hear some people speak dubiously about machines coming from other areas of the Far East. The thing is, I find most of the (more…)

Obama’s Black-And-Whites

December 27, 2008

While President-elect Barack Obama recently was escorted through Hawaii tucked safely within a convoyobamacyclecops of BMW police motorcycles, his next date with two-wheelers will include more than a dozen “Made in the USA” Harley-Davidson police motors.

Harley-Davidson of Frederick Maryland was the dealership tapped to supply bikes to the District of Columbia police for Obama’s inauguration parade.

Dealer principle Michael Vantucci delivered 12 Harley-Davidsons to the police department on Dec. 26. The 2009 FLHTP Electra Glides will be used for escort and security duty.
Vantucci’s supplied bikes have led an inaugural procession five times before. His dealership this year beat out at least seven other motorcycle dealers who bid on the $360,000 inauguration contract.

The District of Columbia police replaces 10 to 12 motorcycles a year and sells the retired bikes, with 40,000 to 50,000 miles on them, online.
BMW and Harley-Davidson are fierce competitors in the police bike market. I wrote an article about police motors earlier this year. Read it here

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Concepts, Concepts and More Concepts

December 3, 2008

Some concept bikes make it into production, some don’t. Here’s a run-down of some of the neat design studies unveiled during the past few years.

Confederate Renovatio
Confederate’s Renovatio (Rebirth) concept was designed with a liquid-cooled V-twin producing 150hp standard or 190hp supercharged.
conceptrenovatio1
Honda V4
Unveiled in October at INTERMOT, Honda’s V4 Concept is a design study made to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the OEM’s V4 four-stroke engine.
concepthondav4
Victory Vision 800
The Victory Vision 800 concept featured an 800cc 4-stroke liquid-cooled parallel twin mated to an automatic constant variable (CVT) transmission.
conceptvictoryvision8001
Yamaha Tesseract
Unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the Yamaha Tesseract is capable of leaning into turns and gets its power from both a V-Twin engine of undisclosed size along with an electric motor.
conceptyamahatesseract
Aprilia Mana X
An update to the Mana unveiled in 2006, the radical 839cc V-twin Aprilia Mana X, shown at EICMA 2008, is a 383-lb. bike producing 55hp at 8000rpm.
conceptapriliamanax
Bombardier Embrio
Powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, the Bombardier Embrio concept uses “outrigger wheels” until it hits 15mph, and then it becomes a gyroscopically balanced unicycle.
conceptbrp_embrio
The Gulak Uno
The Uno was invented by 18-year-old Canadian Ben J. Poss Gulak and shown at the 2008 National Motorcycle Show in Toronto. Like the BRP Embrio, the electric-powered vehicle also uses a gyroscope for balance. Like a Segway, to make it go forward, you lean forward. To slow it down, you lean backward. It has two wheels mounted side-by-side.
conceptuno
Chrysler Tomahawk
Chrysler’s former president, Wolfgang Bernhard, drove the Tomahawk on stage at the Detroit international auto show in 2003. This radical concept is powered by a V-10 engine sourced from the Viper.
concepttomahawk1
Derbi DH 2.0
Shown at EICMA last month, the Derbi DH 2.0 can be described as a motorized mountain bike. It has fuel in frame, an automatic transmission, and a 96cc single-cylinder four-stroke producing 8hp.
conceptderbidh201
Suzuki Crosscage
Suzuki’s Crosscage is a fuel-cell motorcycle featuring an air-cooled fuel system from and secondary lithium-ion battery. Look away from the traditional engine – the motor is inside the huge swinging arm/rear wheel assembly. The faux petrol tank covers the fuel cell, the hydrogen fuel tank is where the motor is normally and the battery and motor controller sit underneath.
conceptcrosscage
Husqvarna SMQ450
The Husqvarna SMQ450, powered by a 450cc liquid-cooled single, was shown for the first time at EICMA in November.
concepthusqvarnasmq450
Honda EVO-6
First shown at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show, the EVO-6 is powered by an 1800cc six-cylinder engine sourced from the Gold Wing.
concepthondaevo6
Yamaha Gen-Ryu
Also unveiled at the 39th Tokyo Motor Show was Yamaha’s Gen-Ryu, equipped with a 600cc engine and electric motor hybrid system.
conceptgen-ryu
BMW Lo Rider
The BMW Lo Rider allows the customer to adapt the entire character of the vehicle to individual taste, and take full pleasure in assembling the unit into anything from a cool cruiser to an aggressive muscle bike. The design elements that customers can individually combine include a raised or lowered exhaust system; a seat for one or two, or an aluminum perch seat; a headlamp unit in classic shape or in streetfighter style; a fuel tank with or without aluminum trim; four paint finishes for the fuel tank; three paint finishes for the engine casing; and front and rear wheel fenders finished either in black or chrome.
conceptbmwlorider
Aprilia FV2 1200
The year 2007 marked the 20th anniversary of Aprilia’s first GP win. The concept FV2 1200 served as a tribute to that anniversary, and offered a glimpse of the technical and stylistic attributes Aprilia planned to develop for future production bikes. It’s powered by a 1200cc, 90° V-twin engine and boasts a ride-by-wire control system integrating traction control, a latest generation ABS system and electronic suspension management. The bike’s dashboard incorporates a multifunctional instrument cluster that can be interfaced with a PC, making it possible to download telemetric data for personal performance evaluations, reconfigure the information shown on the matrix display, load new mappings from the internet, display itineraries, and integrate GPRS and GSM modules for mobile phone connectivity.
conceptapriliafv2
Vectrix Electric Superbike
Unveiled at EICMA 2007, the Vectrix Electric Superbike is powered by a 240v, 7.5KWh battery that drives an electric motor in the rear hub. The 449-lb. bike has a claimed top speed of 125mph and a single-charge range of around 70 miles.
conceptvectrixsportbike